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Sci-fi series shot in Victoria on TV Sunday night

2-part TV show shot in Victoria

Recession got you down? Hey, there are worse things that could happen.

One of the worst-case scenarios airs Sunday night (E!, 9 p.m.) during Part 2 of Impact, the sci-fi miniseries about the magnetic mayhem that ensues when an asteroid knocks the moon out of its orbit and sends it hurtling toward Earth.

The four-hour, $14-million miniseries co-produced by Victoria's Bauman Entertainment Inc. propped up last year's local film and TV industry after a five-month slump. It provided much-needed employment for hundreds of extras, crew and actors -- watch for CHEK News's Scott Fee and former news anchor Julie Nolin as broadcasters -- during its 38-day shoot in Victoria.

Described as "good solid escapism" by the New York Daily News and a dark fantasy that is "broad and occasionally thought-provoking" by the Hollywood Reporter, the two-part disaster flick showcases Greater Victoria extensively.

Sixty locations, including the airport, B.C. legislature, Centre of the Universe observatory and a gravel pit subbing for the lunar landscape, were used as we filled in for Vermont, London, Paris, New Mexico, Munich and Washington, D.C.

Impact stars David James Elliott (JAG) and Natasha Henstridge as two scientists who join forces with European counterparts to try to avert a collision that could wipe out mankind. Oscar-winner James Cromwell plays a curmudgeonly grandpa.

In one scene shot last summer in central Saanich, posing as Germany, dozens of extras played refugees following a spectacular train crash. Their acting skills were put to the test when they were asked to gaze skyward and register shock and awe as the "moon" -- a volleyball atop a towering crane -- inched its way toward Earth.

It wreaks havoc, including tidal waves, toppled global landmarks, lightning strikes and airborne automobiles.

Marie Meret, 69, and her husband Valerio, 80, said being hired as background performers was an eye-opening experience.

"It was wonderful. I was surprised, actually, because we didn't know much of what it was about," said Marie, a retired public-health nurse.

"You just turn up and do what they tell you to do, which included walking for miles."

She said the couple, posing as refugees, spent a lot of time looking over their shoulders at the moon.

They were also paid to cool their heels in their vehicle during a faux traffic jam on View Street.

Their verdict on Part 1 of the finished product? "I didn't expect to be, but I was impressed," she said.

Valerio, a science buff, questioned some of the logic, however. "This idea of the lack of gravity did not agree with him," said Marie, laughing.

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